Industry Insiders: Top Tips from a Physical Theatre practitioner
Welcome back to our Industry Insiders: Top Tips from Industry Professionals series.
Here at The Courtyard we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who specialise in a diverse range of disciplines. From set designers, directors, technical operators and performers to musicians, writers, choreographers and teachers – we approached some of the fantastic practitioners for our Industry Insiders series that we work with to share their top tips for people who are looking to succeed in the arts.
Let us introduce you to Claire Coaché
Claire is a director, a performer, a devisor and a teacher of physical theatre. She is Artistic Director of Open Sky Theatre. She previously co-founded/was co-Artistic Director of RedCape Theatre from 2006-2012.
Claire first studied Theatre Studies BA (Hons) at Lancaster University and then trained in Mime and Physical Theatre at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris graduating in 2005.
Claire has received a Fringe First, a Total Theatre Award and was a finalist for the 2008 Samuel Beckett Theatre award.
As actors we’re trying to communicate as clearly as possible with an audience.
Physical theatre works with 100% of our available tools, the body + the voice + text (although we don’t always use words!!!) According to Dr. Mehrabien’s 7-38-55% rule human beings understand personal communication through: 7% spoken word, 38% tone of voice and 55% body language.
Claire’s physical theatre training at Lecoq was all about making work. Whether devising and creating new stories or finding interesting ways to tell existing ones. Thanks to this, she has always created her own work. “Sometimes this is a slog but it is also empowering because I get to choose the work I make and have some control over when I get to make it.”
Here are Claire’s top tips for those looking at a career in physical theatre.
1: READ LOTS
Read lots, in the news on the web, in books. Listen to people’s stories. Listen to a broad range of music, look at art, photography – you never know when you’ll hear or see something that inspires you, that you’ll want to create from.
2: DON’T BE SHY
If you like someone’s work, tell them. Follow them on social media. Get in touch. Ask for advice/mentoring about how they got started. The worst that can happen is they say no, they might ignore you but they might well respond. Especially now, many artists are looking out for each other and particularly helping young artists just starting out.
3: WATCH EVERYTHING!
Watch as much good theatre and film as you can, be inspired by other artists. The Mime Festival in London always has incredible international work every January (some of it is still online now so check it out). The Edinburgh Fringe is always a great source of inspiration and exciting work.
4: BEHAVE WELL
Behave well. It’s a small industry and people talk to each other. Be on time, be friendly and be kind. Not everybody will adhere to these principles but you can be the change you want to see in the world.
Lots of physical theatre companies offer short workshops. Several drama schools and Universities now offer physical theatre as part their curriculum. There are several really good physical theatre training schools of which I can heartily recommend the experience of training at Lecoq in Paris.
6: HEALTHY BODY
Look after your body, eat well, have a regular form of physical training to keep flexible and in shape.
7: HEALTHY MIND
Look after your mental health. It’s not an easy vocation so keep yourself mentally healthy with good sleep and develop some clear coping strategies to support you if (and when) things don’t go to plan!